Incidence of Bruxism
No hard and fast figures on the frequency of bruxism are available. Most people unconsciously grind or clench their teeth now and then, so the key in deciding whether someone is a bruxer is not the presence or absence of the habit, but such things as its frequency, destructiveness, social discomfort, or physical symptoms (Kydd and Daly, 1985). Moreover, over 80% of all bruxers may be unaware of the habit (Thompson, Blount, and Krumholtz, 1994), or ashamed of it, so they may dismiss evidence that they do in fact engage in self-destructive behavior. Also, it may take years for the first visible signs of worn teeth to appear; yet, often it is these signs which lead to a diagnosis of past or present bruxism. For these reasons, estimates of the prevalence of bruxism range from 5% to 100%. For the U.S. population, current estimates often settle for the 5-20% range. A 2011 review, for instance,guesstimates the figure for the general population at 8%.
Regardless of the exact number, the figures are disturbing. At the very least, one out of twenty westerners brux. Most likely, one out of ten does. Inarguably, then, bruxism is a widespread behavioral pattern which adversely affects a significant fraction of the world's people.
Kydd, W. L. and Daly, C. (1985). Duration of Nocturnal tooth contacts during bruxing. Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, 53(5): 717-721.
Thompson, B. H., Blount, B. W., & Krumholtz, T. S. (1994). Treatment approaches to bruxism. American Family Physician, 49, 1617-22.